Mangiamo! New downtown Naperville eatery offering Italian dining experiences you can’t get elsewhere

Opening Wednesday in downtown Naperville, Davanti Enoteca pulls ideas and dishes from different regions in Italy.

Executive chef Jonathan Court said the new restaurant at 47 E. Chicago Ave. prides itself in educating staff so guests not only will learn a little when they visit, but can take full advantage of different tableside experiences they might not get in other restaurants.

“I think with a lot of these different regional dishes, it kind of sets us apart from your classic Italian trattoria,” Court said.

At Davanti Enoteca, for example, guests can order the “creamy mascarpone polenta and ragu that’s poured tableside on a wooden board” or a whole roasted eggplant that’s cut open by the food runner and then garnished with crispy shallots and sea salt, he said.

The items will be available exclusively in Naperville.

“We have a raviolo that’s filled with egg yolk and ricotta spinach, and we could encourage the food runner or server to cut that tableside so you can see that nice gooey egg yolk,” Court said.

Another dish unique to Davanti Enoteca, Court said, is focaccia di recco.

Where most people associate focaccia with the spongy, yeast-risen bread, theirs is “very thin with a very nice, creamy crescenza cheese, which is a Ligurian cow’s milk cheese, and we serve that with a honeycomb.”

The restaurant also will offer eight different cuts of pasta, five of which are made in-house.

The Davanti Enoteca wine list consists of 110 different wines with a focus on Italian varieties.

Court said there also are wines from California, Washington, Oregon, South America, South Africa, Spain, France, Greece and New Zealand.

His team is knowledgeable and can guide guests through many different styles of wine with many different taste profiles.

A Coravin wine system also will allow guests to experience small batch wines by the glass that would normally only be available by the bottle.

While the restaurant can be a place to dine out for a special occasion or date night, it has a casual vibe too, Court said.

“It’s definitely a place where you can come with the kids or just pop in for a burger and a glass of wine on any night of the week,” he said.

Davanti Enoteca is the fifth downtown restaurant in the Scott Harris Hospitality family, joining Fat Rosie’s, La Sorella di Francesca, Vasilli’s and Smokeshow BBQ.

The restaurant group also has Davanti Enoteca locations in Western Springs and San Diego, California.

Board & Brush plans grand opening

The do-it-yourself wood sign workshop Board & Brush will host its grand opening from 2 to 4 p.m. April 30 in Suite 145 of the Cress Creek Shopping Center at 790 Royal St. George Drive in Naperville.

Guests can explore the studio and sign up for upcoming workshops while enjoying treats and giveaways.

The first 30 adults will receive a free gift bag and $10-off coupon.

Also for adults, the business at random will give away four gift bags with a coupon for 25% off, three bags with a coupon for 50% off, and two bags with a 100%-off coupon.

Classes begin May 5. People can register by calling 630-276-4602 or emailing

What started as a girl’s night out wood workshop with wine and crafts in the founder’s basement has grown to 270 locations in 41 states.

The Naperville location will be the fourth studio owned by Katie and Mike Ilic, who started with one in Oswego in 2018 followed by locations in St. Charles in 2019 and Downers Grove in 2020.

New restaurant coming to Route 59

The people who brought Vai’s Italian-inspired kitchen and bar to Naperville are embarking on a new restaurant experience on Route 59 — Entourage.

Construction is underway transforming in the old Bakers Square restaurant at 796 S. Route 59 into the new eatery, which is expected to open in the spring.

The Entourage website describes the restaurant as a “mindfully crafted American kitchen” with cocktails.

Vai’s opened in July 2018 in the Fox River Commons shopping area at 916 S. Route 59.